Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Life. Moves On. And Such.

I love writing.  I love writing on this blog.  I love connecting with people.  I love connecting with people through this blog.  There are days I can't wait to sit down to write my thoughts, and then there are days I get in bed, hit the pillow, and I'm out.  No time for writing. 

With the start of school, we've had new routines.  Trying to keep everyone cohesive and maximize quality time is work and that leaves little time for writing.  Presence has been an action I have been working on lately.  Presence with my kids.  Presence with my business. Presence as a wife.  Presence as a friend.  Presence as a Christian.  Presence as a (fill in the blank)______________.

Goodness.  We wear a lot of different hats. I used to focus on balancing life.  No doubt that's important, but what helps me maintain that balance is asking myself, "Am I being present in the activity I am doing NOW?" 

I may drop the ball with tasks I am supposed to complete and my to-do list may pile up on some days, but what I'm realizing is being present is what is keeps me focused on importance.  I'm not sure this helps anyone else, but life moves by fast for us.  We blink and it's a new month.  Sometimes I can barely remember the date. It's a new reality for me.  With baby #4 on the way, I'm realizing I'll manage the crazy, but being present where I'm at is what keeps me from jumping off the cliff of insanity.

After all, these kiddos reflect how I can feel in a matter of minutes.  If I don't stay present, this is what you get...

All of this to say, I haven't quit this blog.  I never will.  It's a great outlet.  It just may not happen everyday. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Embracing My Crazy

Ducks in a row.  To do list made. Perfectly planned.  Details thought out.  Tasks done early.

That was me.

Not. Anymore.

Here is a prime example.  Last week parents sat in little chairs and listened to teachers explain class rules and such.  The annual Parent Night.  Most normal parents walk into the right class without issue, thumb through their kid's desk, write little love notes, and intently listen to the teacher.

I intently listened to the teacher.  The other 'normal' things I intended to do correctly, but it didn't happen.  First off, I walked into, not ONE wrong classroom, but TWO.  I blame it on recognizing parents.  Saw the first 2nd grade classroom and a few of last year's parents were sitting down.  Well, by all means that must be Little Man's class.  Nope.

Second attempt.  I see more parents.  This time I am fully convinced Little Man is in the same class as his buddy Lane.  Nope, he's not.

For attempt number 3 I decided to actually  look at the teacher before walking in.  BAM!  I find it.

It's not like I didn't go in there on Meet the Teacher.  Seriously.  Who does that kind of stuff?

So major fail on finding the right class. 

I did peek in Little Man's desk, but I didn't thumb through his stuff.  He keeps a tidy desk.  Score one for mom for teaching him neatness.  It was super neat.  So not a total fail there. 

Did I write him a note?  NOPE.  Honestly, it didn't even cross my mind until now.  I bet he would have liked that. Mental note for next year...write a mushy gushy love note and leave it smack in the middle of his desk.  He'll totally love that and feel appreciated when his friends see it too. 

Lastly, I walk out of Parent Night and see the 2nd Grade Community Board.  All these kids with pics of them with their families on vacations, enjoying activities, and/or living it up with friends.  Then there's Little Man's pic.  My first born.  The kid I'm supposed to get everything right with, because after all, he's the first to experience these things.  Well, he has his school pic from last year.  Nothing cool.  No beach vacation pics.  No cool friend pics.  No well posed family pics.  Just a school pic.

Here's what I find ultra funny about that.  If HE got a regular old school pic to take for his assignment, what's the final Torres kids gonna get???  Maybe a personalized self-sketch because we can't even find an adequate picture???

For a little bit, I was beating myself up about this.  Who does that to their kid?  Then I had to take a step back and think, Does he even really care or is this me just comparing what pics other kids have vs. what I sent him with?  

Probably has more to do with me comparing.  He doesn't care.  In fact, he thinks his pic is awesome.  Problem solved.  So I'll just embrace my crazy for now.  I'll be me...the mom who used to have it all together who now randomly walks into other classrooms and sends a 'It'll do photo' to school. 

Oh well!  I'll also be the mom who makes up crazy games to entertain herself at the pool.  Like the Bet You Can't Hit Dad's Hand game...


Yep, that's way more my style at the moment.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Menu Monday...on Tuesday

Helloooooo Summer!  Just when you think we have come through and Oklahoma summer unscathed, it turns to hotter than Hades temps.  HOLY SMOKES!!!  We spent Sunday with our church section and Tulsa Homeless Outreach passing out needs and talking with the homeless in the heat.  After standing on the hot pavement for an hour, I have a burden for those living on the streets or living without A/C.

In the comfort of my own home, I hydrated all day so me and my preggers self would be in tip top shape to serve in the 100+ degree temps.  Once we get out to our meeting location, I see 3...THREE...pregnant women who were living on the streets.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  One woman in particular had no idea how far along she was, but was as big around as I am.  As soon as I began asking questions, she jetted.  I can't get her face, demeanor, and baby out of my mind.  Which leaves me with a burdened heart, and that's not a bad thing.  With a burdened heart, you no longer walk through your own life thinking about yourself and your problems and your issues and your to-do's.  You just can't.  Life just can't go on the same.  You can't look at these faces month after month and NOT think about how you can do your life different so they can know a better life.



{Billy...he thought he had me beat in the belly region}

These 3 men have stories.  Stories that may shock you.  Dwayne and Garland are actually not homeless now.  They have transitioned to apartment living.  However, their apartments are NOT what you and I would consider acceptable living.  Dwayne often refers to his apartment as the Dungeon.  In my opinion, that is a generous description.  Yep, life cannot go on business as usual anymore.
So here we are on Tuesday and I typically would have a menu posted, but thoughts were elsewhere.  BUT, I have it today.

Monday-Does it even really matter now?
Tuesday-Taco Salad served over Spicy Roasted Chickpeas and Watermelon
Wednesday-Coconut Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes
Thursday-Grilled Chicken Salad and Croissants
Friday-Pizza Bread
Saturday-Dinner Out
Sunday-Burgers, Brats, and all things grilled.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Throw Away People

A few nights ago I was reading my new favorite book, Undaunted by Christine Caine.


 It has touched a lot of sensitive areas in my life.  Where do I stand helping others?  How much of my own comfort am I willing to give up for that help?  Am I really living a Christ like life?  How much do I value others' lives over my own?  Are my priorities straight?  

All these questions floating around.  It takes a lot of self-reflection and honestly some of the answers I don't like because I'm selfish.  I like my time.  I like my space.  I like my family.  Then the disgust sets in for all that liking of time and space because in the end will I be satisfied to answer the question, "Did I do enough?"

We don't get to heaven by works or being a good person or living by the right rules.  We get there by the acceptance of what Jesus did for us, but what I mean is did I do enough with what I was given?   Did I use my gifts and talents?  Did I use the resources I was given in the proper manner?

Here's a perfect example.

My mom and I were talking the other day and she mentioned how she feels we live in a society where people are looked at as throw aways. We see this all the time in life.  The teenagers that are dressed funky.  The homeless on the street.  The provocatively dressed young lady.  How many times do we walk by in judgement?  We assume we know why they are the way they are.  We assume we know what's caused them to be in this time and place.  We assume there is nothing we can do to help.


I love how Christine Caine put this kind of topic in her book.  I've read it a handful of times and each time it inspires me to search harder for what I can do to display this kind of love.

No matter how deep the pit or dark the night, I will always look for you and rescue you because I love you with an everlasting love.  You are precious to me.  Even when you mess up, even when you're careless or mistaken or afraid or broken or weak, I still love you.  Even when you are incapable of doing anything for anyone, including yourself, I still love you.  And just as I come for you, I come for all those who have made mistakes, and those who are overlooked, for those devalued and despised.  I come for all the wrong people--the careless and uncared for, the merry and the miserableI come for the lost, whether the lost is a silly sheep, a silver coin, or a squandering son. (pg 135, Undaunted)

If Jesus searches for these people, cares for these people, loves these people, then WHY AREN'T WE???  We are not helpless individuals.  We are powerful in Christ.  When you see this kind of passion spilled out on the pages of a book, how can I think, "There's not much I can do.  It's just the way it is."  People are not throw aways.  They are not old shoes.  They are not wasted spaces.  There are treasures deep inside waiting, waiting, for YOU!  

I pray you find your niche, your calling, into how you are to serve others.  We are not all called in the same way, but we are called for something.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Menu Monday

It finally hit me.  I am having a baby.  The whole idea of waking up at endless hours of the night and the crying and the sleepless night and the crying and the no sleep thing and the crying...I think you get it.  Well, it all really freaks me out.  We've been down this road before and frankly, I. LOVE. SLEEP.  Giving up nights on end with no rest during the day is a super duper labor of love for me.

But, finally...FINALLY, I am getting excited to snuggle, cuddle, nurse and love on a little 7 lb bundle of miraculous cuteness at all hours.  The newborn pics creeping through my news feed gets me so excited about the new life.  Another opportunity to raise a child to make a difference in this world.  We live a rich life!

In the meantime, I am going to cook.  Life goes on and there's not too much time to ponder the future.  Here's what's getting us through the week nutritionally...

Monday-Taco Lettuce Wraps, Homemade Salsa, and Brown Rice Chips
Tuesday-Grilled Chicken, Peppers, and Onions with Brown Rice
Wednesday-Seasoned Tilapia, Steamed Broccoli, Salad
Thursday-Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
Friday-Stir Fry with Veggies
Saturday-Dinner Out
Sunday-Dinner at Mom's

Monday, August 11, 2014

Menu Monday

It's the week we begin school.  Am I really old enough to have a second grader and a Kindergartener???  How is it possible to have kids that old when I'm only 25? 

I am so lying through my teeth.  I'm 25 plus a few more years, but I have a bit of an identity crisis.  I see myself as 25.  Then I see someone who is truly 25 and I cry.  They have no wrinkles...or gray hair...or multiple children dangling from their limbs.  Nope!  They are just young and vibrant and naive and...I just can't talk about this anymore. 

Here's the menu...

Monday-Whole Roasted Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Strawberries
Tuesday-Sanwiches and stuff...It's Meet Your Teacher then straight to football.
Wednesday-Chicken Crescent Roll Ups, Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries
Thursday-Grilled Tilapia, Green Beans, Salad
Saturday-Homemade Pizza and Salad
Sunday-Veggie Loaded Spaghetti, Salad, The Bread

25 year olds totally cook like this, right???

Friday, August 8, 2014

Just Call Me Handy

Football season started in our house last week.  My husband and son are in their element.  Little Miss, Chubby Cheekers and I are along for the ride (and I guess Torres #4 too...she goes where I go).  It's been pretty fun.  Ask me again in a month if it's still fun.  No, I'm kidding.  It's a fun schedule to keep and manage when you husband is coaching.  I mean that in the most serious manner (I am totally lying through my teeth).

Just for a little visual, here's my big wittle bitty baby guy suiting up for practice.  He's loving the time with his friends and learning new skills.

Do they not look so totally tough???

Aside from football season being new to our schedule, we are also working on something else new.  The boys are moving in together.  Chubby Cheekers is being kicked out of his room to make room for his baby sister.  As of now, they boys are excited about it.  I give this about 2.5 days. But that's beside the point.  The POINT is...

You can now hire me for your latest handy dandy needs.  My latest piece of work is a (drum roll please)....

 Toddler Bed!

Yeah, I can read directions like a BOSS!  I am also pretty mean with an allen wrench.  Thanks to our crazy new football schedule, I decided to tackle the assembly of the bed by myself.  I got tired of seeing the box chilling in the entry way. Honestly, I had a great support group of 5 kids.  They were totally supportive.

Aunt Amanda?  Ummm, don't you think you should wait for Uncle Stevie to do that? (From Chunkey Monkey.  Geez, nephew!  Do you know how many time I wiped your biscuits?!?)

Mom, do you even know where that goes? (From Little Man.  He's grounded for life.)

Mommy, you are the smartest worker lady ever!  (From Little Miss. She is now my favorite child.)

Well, it just goes to show the boys that I am awesome, and Little Miss now believes she can conquer the world as a girl.  As long as she's armed with an allen wrench. 

As we speak Chubby Cheekers is snoozing in that bed and nothing has fallen apart.  Again, I offer my services for hire!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Consumed: An Update

So my first attempt at inviting Amy to church was unsuccessful.  I wasn't able to get a hold of her despite a few messages. She did tell me the last time we were in person that she can't see who calls on her phone.  So any phone message I left her may have gone unbeknownst to her.

Despite my sinking heart, I know my time is not lost with her.  All I know is if I don't do my part to seek her out, I'm not sure anyone else will.  She may not see the worth in herself, but I see her worth.  Which brings me to my crazy Sunday afternoon...

Sunday afternoon just sitting around cleaning and organizing and relaxing wasn't sitting well.  My mom and I decided to see if Amy was at our normal meeting spot.  I had a few things to give her and more importantly, I wanted to hug her neck.  She wasn't anywhere to be found.  None of our friends were.  Homeless people?  Yes.  But none that we have built relationships with.  We'll try again next week and keep trying until our next outreach on August 24th.  Ever since February, when we first met Amy, she has come to the outreach and makes sure she doesn't leave until she finds my mom or myself.  I will see her again.  She still consumes me, but I know have a new obsession.

Here's what has consumed me since Sunday...

We drove passed at least 50 homeless people, mostly men, hanging on the street.  A few groups here, a few more there, and some sitting by themselves about every few blocks.  Every few blocks there were also people going about their day seemingly oblivious to these men.  So busy with their own day or their own uncomfortableness that they cannot even make eye contact.

When did we become so desensitized that we fail to see people as people?  They are not scum of the earth.  Some may have done scummy things, but we are not our mistakes.  I try to remember that when looking at people now. You know that whole, 'Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover' thing?  At the very least, what harm is there in simply acknowledging people?

If I can ask one thing of you, acknowledge those around you.  Be so consumed with making meaningful contact with people that your personal agenda becomes secondary.  You will be blessed for it.  And with that, I have two stories to share with you.  One from our church, and the other about Dwayne.  Both are touching.  Both will leave you looking at how you go about your day differently, AND how you see people differently.

Please, please, please take time to watch the video and then read Dwayne's story.

Click the link to watch the video.  It is amazing how much you become consumed when you walk in the attitude of awareness;  being open and available to opportunities to help others.  It can be something as simple as what happens in this story.

 {photo credit: Jenny Thomas}
I want you to look long and hard at Dwayne's photo before you read the story and think, "If this man passed me by, what would I think of him?"  I can be real honest with you.  A year ago, I would have been sad for him, but judgmental and uncomfortable.  Now, I see his heart.  It is beautiful. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

And The Flood Gates Opened...

This is not a 'please send compliments my way' post.  Just some real feelings that were stinky.  If it happens to me, maybe it's happened to you.  I hope you can find some encouragement from my stinky feelings.  At the very least, you are NOT alone!

It's been 23 weeks this baby has been growing with me.  She is moving and more active everyday.  This last experience of life in me has been amazing and I truly appreciate it.  So when I found myself all emotional over the way clothing fits, I was totally taken back.

Generally speaking, I am not a super emotional person.  I can contain tears on most issues.  I have never ever cried about my weight as an adult.  There are times I dislike parts of my body.  There are things I work to change and things I want to change that diet and exercise can't fix.  Like those nasty spider veins!  They drive me nuts.  My right leg could seriously be mistaken for a 90 year old woman.
 {See what I mean??? I'm kidding. Not my real leg, but close!}

Not the point.  The point is, I don't obsess over my body.  It's my shell.  I try to take care of it, but my identity is not wrapped up in it.

Again, this is why I was SO caught off guard.

Yesterday, I went to put on my usual workout shorts and t-shirt (you know, my Mom Uniform), and I had to double check that I didn't have on biker shorts.

What. The. Heck???

They were my go-to, most favorite, well-loved Lulu shorts.  Now they will work great if I were going on a long bike ride.  We're talking suction cup fit!


The tears were flowing over clothing.  I went to put on another pair of shorts.  Too tight.  At this point I flopped on the bed and cried like a big baby.  I wasn't even sure why.  So I cried some more for crying over such a trivial issue.

Here's my thoughts on the issue...

After having Micah, I thought we were finished with our family.  I worked hard in diet and exercise to get back to the shape I wanted.  I don't think I have ever been in that great of shape.  Life was great physically.

During this pregnancy, I have worked out hard and fairly diligently.  I am way more conscience of my eating and feel great.  However, I am at the point where I pack on the weight.  In my mind, it is disheartening.  This leads to the crying event.

My poor husband walks in and finds me a complete mess.  I'm sure he thought something tragic happened.  I never cry like that.  When he found out why I was crying, I'm sure he was ready to check me into the looney bin.  I was ready to check myself in.

The reason why I share this with you is because I know I'm not alone here.  We all have times where we feel less than us.  It's a lie.  We are never less than us.  We are more.  We are greater with Him.  With my stinky, no good, feeling sorry for myself attitude, I had some decisions to make.

First off, I need to purchase some clothes to get me over the hump.  I've been struggling with spending money on clothing I will wear for only a few months.  Instead, I have to realize I'm investing in minimizing frustration and then using those clothes to bless someone else later.

Secondly, I needed a reminder of what God says about me.  Despite the frustration of a changing body God has some very specific things to say about me.  None of which have anything to do with whether or not I fit in my Lulu shorts.  In fact He says I am completely whole physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Not because of what I have done, but because of what Christ has done for me.  Good reminder.

And lastly, there are some choices I am making that would result in smaller thighs and butt.  It's called, "Don't eat the cookies late at night."  Somehow, I hold it together all day with great eating and then, every once in a while, cookies come running to me with their great friend milk.   That needs to stop.  Nothing is wrong with cookies and milk every once in a while, but obviously it's causing some issues with how I see myself.  If my mental state is affected by my food choices, then I really need to evaluate what's important.

So there's my crazy for today!  Feel free to run from me in public.  My issues may rub off on you!

Seriously, though.  Thanks for listening.  This is totally my therapy zone to process my issues...for the world to read...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Consumed and Broken

Does that not sound like the most depressing title ever?  It's totally not, but then again it's a truth.  This past week has been a growing season.  An emotional 'I Must Be Seriously Pregnant' growing season.

A prime example is me fighting back tears most of the morning while running errands.  Here's why...


You see all those red dots?  They stand for someone who needs life change.  True life change that comes from the purest love.  God's love.  Last night we walked through our sections and prayed over the names of people. The hardest hit one...My Marriage.  Someone, who sat very near to us, came to church for hope.  Hope for their marriage.  I sat my big 'ol rear right in that chair and cried and prayed.

The truth is we get so selfish in our own worlds, in our own circumstances, in our own bubbles, in our own circle of friends, in our own families...we fail to recognize or even ASK ourselves into someone else's world.

This very idea of where I stand in selfishness has consumed me, and I am broken about it. 

For months we have served at Tulsa Homeless Outreach.  We have built relationships with certain individuals.  We know their struggles.  We know their history.  We know their shames.  We know their needs.  We help fill their immediate needs.  We pray with them.  We leave. 

Up until now, that has been my level of comfort.  Then there's that nudge.   

More.  Do more.  This is just the beginning.

Ummmm, yeah.  Actually, I'm good right here. Right here in the arena of my own selfish comfort zone.  I mean, isn't meeting basic needs enough?  That other stuff is a messy job.  Isn't there someone more qualified to do that part? 

So here's where it got messy for me.

Our calling this weekend was to fill our personal seats in church with someone who needs it.  Immediately the name Amy popped into my mind.  I know a gazillion Amy's.  I'm going down the list like roll call on the first day of school and none are settling.  By this point I'm totally frustrated at what stinkin' Amy I am supposed to get in touch with.  Ahhhhhhhhh!!!  (Such the patient spirit, I know!)

Then it hits me.  Amy, mother of 6.  All of which are dispersed throughout OK's foster care.  Amy, drug addict who put down the needle a few months ago, but still has an addiction to meth.  Amy, who is on and off the streets.  Amy, who has sought out the help of my mother and myself.  Amy, who is walking into churches for help and being turned away.

This. Is. Messy.  

Where is my back up team for help?

Answer: Greater is He who is in me, than in the world. -1 John 4:4

Yep, that's the answer I got.  Twice. 

So out of my comfort zone I went to ask Amy to be my personal guest at church.  She was super responsive.  In asking what she needed to feel comfortable in church she said, "A bra."  So bra shopping I went today.  

(SIDE STORY:  I love my own precious offspring made note that I didn't have boobies to fit into something that big when I was choosing one I thought she'd like and then AGAIN the next aisle over.  Yeah, those kids are PRECIOUS!  Explaining why I was purchasing a bra for someone else was also interesting.)

My next step is figuring out how to get Amy to church.  Where is a safe place to meet her and what other companion is going with me to pick her up?  Although, I know I am the person she knows and trusts to get her to church, I still have a responsibility to protect my own children.  My kids know Amy fairly well, but riding in a car right now with her is not something we are ready to expose our kids to just yet.  They need some protection and filter right now.  So Steven will be taking the kids in one car and I will be picking up Amy in another.  I know these details will iron out, but do you see where I am in the mess?  

It's a beautiful mess, but a mess.  And here's what I know.  Her 6 kids are counting on someone to be a liaison with their mother.  Someone to get her to the place where she can have an intimate relationship with God.  Which is the only way her life will change for good and change the life for her children. 

Amy is hungry for change, but trying to do it on her own on the streets.  I'll keep you posted on this journey, but I wanted you to know why there has been an absence.  It's been an emotional week.  Wonderful, but emotional.  So if you catch me crying in public, now you know why.  I'm only half crazy this time around!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Monday Postponed...Camp Is HERE!

Today is the day I drive my oldest wittle bitty baby to church to be hauled off to church camp.  Is he concerned about being homesick?  NOPE!  He's all about his friends and fun and Jesus.  I really can't ask for much more from him.  He's going to have an awesome week.  I am proud of his courageous and brave mindset, but that doesn't mean I won't miss him to pieces.

His sister has already been a bawl bag for the last day.  It's hitting her the hardest that he is leaving.  They are so close.  A little shy of 2 years apart these two know nothing other than life with each other.  Love their sibling relationship.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Beyond Ridiculous

Let's start with the most ridiculous event from the week.  My SEVEN pound weight gain in ONE week.  Not month...WEEK!  That's not normal.  Arbonne has literally saved my hiney because staying strictly clean (eating fresh, whole foods) has let 4 of those pounds go and I feel myself again.  The other 3 pounds I am going to chalk up to this ridiculous stomach growing.

I noticed on our vacation the belly was getting out there.  Bending over now is accompanied with grunting.  What I didn't realize was when I returned to boot camp, the belly was in the way.  Step ups?  Uh, the knee doesn't goes as high.  At first I thought, "What the heck?  What is my leg hitting?"  Then I realized, "Dang it!  It's the baby.  When did this happen?" 

Next up burpees.  At this point, my heifer in heat breathing had already kicked in and I was quickly reminded how pregnant I am right now.  I started out with a wide stance so I could actually squat down.  It wasn't wide enough.  It got so ridiculous, that my best friend and fitness trainer says, "Seriously, Amanda?"
I guess it was that bad.  I need to get this on video.  I love to laugh and laughing at myself is my favorite past time.  If I do get it on camera, you can bet I will post it for you!

Anyway, I got home, sat on the back porch with my protein shake, and had my quiet time.  I mention my protein shake because I was able to sit it on my stomach and it stayed there as I read my devotion.  When it came time for journaling, I removed my cup to replace it with my journal.  Ridiculous.  20 weeks and my stomach is already my table.  Never.  NEVER have I had a table at 20 weeks.  That is why #4 is the last baby.  Talk about table top at conception if there were to be a fifth.  Can you imagine?

And just in case you are thinking, "She's exaggerating!"  I have proof.  This was me on Monday morning after I realized how much I had popped out.

Photo: This belly and burpees make for an interesting morning workout. Thank you Erica Bolton McMullen and F.I.T Bootcamp for kicking my booty today. 

Beyond ridiculous!

So in all that you do today, be reminded that your stomach is NOT this big!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We Are Excited to Announce...

We're having TWINS!  Oh my gosh.  I've always wanted to say that.  Too bad it's not true.  There's just one little girl growing in there, but I got you, huh???

I do have an exciting announcement though!

After 11 years of serving and growing at Church on the Move, we are going through some BIG changes.  Changes that launch THIS weekend.

For years, COTM has reached hundreds of people, but what I love about our church is the constant motion of moving forward to serve more and meet the needs of people.  After years of researching, Church on the Move is launching SECTIONS!!!

Basically, Sections is focusing on joining a small section in the large church to form closer relationships so we can create community through serving.  Think of it as creating a bunch of smaller churches within a big church.

Here's the breakdown of the sections...


You see that Section, 2B???  Well...that's US!!!  Steven and I are so excited to announce that we will be leading this section.  I want to personally invite you to be apart of our Section.  We are Saturday nighters at 6:00pm.  We'll be there right when the doors open to meet and get to know you as well as after service.  If Church on the Move has always been a place you love to learn at, but it just felt too big, too much, this is your chance to get personal.  Even if our Section isn't a fit for you, we will help you find the Section that feels like home to you.  For the last few weeks, we have been meeting with all the Section leaders and we are a wide variety of people.  It's awesome!!!

I don't want to forget to mention, Steven and I will be passing out Bio Cards with us on it.  At the very least you are welcome to come and get some giggles at us on a card.  I know it will crack me up!  What's not going to crack me up is seeing all the changed lives.  The people who need connections, need community, and watching them flourish into serving others.  That's the true gift right there.  We all need that whether we think we do or not.  It's an exciting time for COTM and I would like nothing more than for you to be apart of it with us.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Menu Monday


This was us.  Last week.  On the beach. Forgetting the days and the time. I want to go back.  Spending time together as a family will never get old.  A full week of waking up, eating breakfast together, going on long bike rides, and hitting the beach the rest of the day makes for a PERFECT day.  

The only thing I would erase would be the 7 lbs I gained over the week.  Yep, SEVEN POUNDS! Total indulgence all week.  Very little concern for what I was consuming.  I am paying for it now.  Today, actually yesterday, we started on strictly clean.  I mean, super strict. I need some major discipline to get me back on track.  

So wanting light and fresh for this hotter than Hades Oklahoma heat, I went searching for some newbie recipes.  Here's what I dug up and what the Torres will be chowing down on this week.

Monday-Roasted Whole Chicken* (half eaten, half shredded for later), Steamed Broccoli, Salad
Tuesday-White Bean Soup with Turkey Sausage and Sweet Potatoes
Wednesday-Power Hummus Bowl** and Berry Salad
Thursday-Seasoned Tilapia, Brown Rice with Roasted Peppers
Friday-Burrito Bowl (use remainder of shredded chicken) with Brown Rice Chips and Salsa
Saturday-Veggie Loaded Spaghetti, Salad
Sunday- Chicken and Veggie Kabobs and Fresh Roasted Green Beans

*use first 5 ingredients only and toss in the crock pot. 
**just check out that Power Hummus Bowl. Bed of spinach, a few sliced purple onions, cucumber, cilantro, shredded chicken, and a big 'ol glob of avocado hummus...YUM!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is It Tuesday?

Seriously?  Is it Tuesday already?  It's like I took a nap on Saturday and woke up to Tuesday.  From our wonderful Chicago family visiting, to Tulsa Homeless Outreach,  to getting a cast off, to getting a sinus infection under control, I can see why Tuesday snuck up on me. 

It's not totally a bad thing.  Being busy with the right thing has it's perks.  Spending time with family.  Perk.  Serving the homeless. Perk.  Getting a cast off. Perk.  Sinus infection.  Uh...non perk.

I'll spare you from the play by play of the family weekend, but let's just say 7 kids ages 8, 7, 5, 5, and THREE 2 year olds makes for a lot of crazy fun!  Go ahead.  Let your imagination run wild with that one.  If you can think of it, it probably happened within our two days together.

As for the Tulsa Homeless Outreach.  AH-MAY-ZING!!!  So many volunteers showed up this time.  People making unlimited snow cones, people playing music, multiple cars serving up sack lunches, crates and crates of water being distributed (so much so that I came home with one leftover for next month), and toiletries.  It was heartwarming to meet up with Dwayne, Ron, Amy, and a few others we have grown to love personally.

Dwayne told me on Sunday that his whole life people have always told him to get lost.  In fact, at 14 years of age, his mother told him to go.  There was a whole story to that, but Dwayne is missing most of his teeth so catching the whole story was a bit difficult.  Nonetheless, his birthday is July 27th.  He'll be 54.  I can't wait to bring him a cake and some balloons.  More than anything I want him to know that when I said, "You are loved and cherished, you just haven't met the right ones to show you that yet,"  that he knows I mean it.  Despite the amount of spit that lands on my arm while listening to him, or the dirt caked all over his arms and hands, or how rough he looks, or even how bad he smells of alcohol (even though he swears he doesn't drink anymore), he is still worthy of relationships and love.  He loves telling stories, and I love listening to them.  At least the parts I can understand!

I'll be updating what we are focusing on for July's outreach.  The overwhelming request from those on the streets was SHORTS!  So, needless to say, I'm going to be asking for the shorts off your butts!  

In other Torres news, a certain little princess got her cast off yesterday! This is her last pic with that pink bad boy right before it was sawed off her pretty little arm...

Photo: This bad boy is coming off today! 

She did so great getting it off. One thing I wasn't prepared for was the weakness in her arm coming across as soreness.  As soon as the tech took the cast off and walked out, the tears came.  She was scared about how her arm was feeling.  Thankfully, the ortho saw a great report in the Xray.  Her elbow was healing nicely and no cast needed. 

We walked out with temporary removable splint for wearing when riding bikes or scooters, but other than that, nothing is needed.  We've been swimming 2 days in a row and she's getting more and more confident with using her right arm.  She still has not fully extended her arm, but we're believing over the next few weeks that will happen.  She's made great progress just in the last 24 hours.

We really appreciate all the prayers and support from everyone.  It means a lot to our family and to Little Miss.  Love you all!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Semi Last Minute

Have you ever had that moment when you think something is really far away, then you look at the calendar and realize, "STINK!  I have one week left!!!!"?

Yeah, that was me this morning.  I woke up realizing we leave very soon for vacation and there are some essentials we MUST have before road-tripping it. 

We leave for the beach (my most favorite place ever) next week.  Thankfully, we have out of town family staying at our house while we're gone so I don't have to plan anything there.  BUT, a ton of other things I've been putting off need to be done, like, to-day!

We Torreses turn into the ultimate beach bums on vacation.  We wake up, have breakfast on the patio, put on our swimsuits, ride bikes for an hour or so, then hit the beach until dinner time.  Then dinner on the patio and back out for a walk on the beach.  Total slacker lifestyle! 

Since we pretty much crawl out of bed, beach it, and crawl back into bed I have a Beach Essentials' List.  Here's what we'll be packing.  Don't worry!  Swimsuits will be packed as well.  It's not that kind of beach.

This is our natural bug spray.  It's made as a body spray so it smells light and fresh, but it's a natural repellant with lemongrass.  Obviously, there are no harsh chemicals so it has always gone on Chubby Cheekers' skin since he was a babe.  No bites, no chemicals. Works beautifully!
I don't get chaffing from bike rides, but someone in our family does.  I won't embarrass him Steven, but someone chaffs.  Plus, this is our lightening quick answer to burns and scrapes.  This mama don't leave home without it!

Arbonne doesn't make a baby powder, but this is another beach must have.  It takes off sticky sand in a flash.  Sprinkle on the skin, dust it off.  Viola!  Learned it on Pinterest.

The only two sunscreens we use.  Last year I couldn't find our ABC Sunscreen for the kids so I used another popular 'good for you' sunscreen on our kids.  With the ABC I don't have to reapply.  With the other popular brand it said it had longer coverage time.  It didn't.  My kids got burned.  Never again.  As for the adult sunscreen.  Just as fabulous.  Plus one bottle lasts the entire summer.  LOVE long lasting stuff!   We'll also be pocketing the LipSaver Chapstick with SPF 20 so we don't look like pufferfish with burnt lips.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Potty Training....UGH!

I'm sure some of you have read my fool proof way of potty training.  Worked like a charm for my friends and for Little Miss.  I find it super duper effective...if you are not lazy.  My problem this time around with #3, I'M LAZY!!!

In fact, potty training was this thing I knew needed to be done, but not one ounce of me wanted to do it.  I loathe the whole process.  Changing wet undies, dumping poop in the potty, cleaning it out of undies, the laundry, the following around.  I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Until my mom steps in and buys Chubby Cheekers some new undies (Smooth, Mom.  Real smooth!).  Undies that he wants to wear, like, ALL. THE. TIME.  Can someone put me in a straight jacket now?

I'm sure you've recognized that Chubby Cheekers has always been our kid who moves to the beat of a different drum.  It would only be fitting if I shared with you his journey of potty training.  It's been very different.

First off, he takes the doggie approach to peeing.  If he has to go, he goes to the backyard, finds a spot on the grass and lets it flow.  This wouldn't be totally unacceptable except he doesn't pull down the undies.  Just stands there and pees in them.  Then waddles himself back inside to let me know how awesome he did going pee-pee.

Yeah,  that has happened multiple times.

Secondly, he insists that entire family comes with him to the bathroom (when he actually goes to IN the bathroom).  Once he does his business, he asks you to clap.  When he gets his undies back on, he asks your for high fives.  When you give him a high five, he gives you the biggest hug.  It's an all out celebration.

And lastly, he now wants to celebrate everyone else who goes potty.  I have received so many claps, high fives, and hugs for going pee-pee myself.  More than the average Torres in this household thanks to pregnancy.  Really, I'm just giving you fair warning.  If you come over, a certain 2 year old will celebrate you too.

Fortunately, I still have my sanity after 3 days of this 'training' business.  If I would just crack down and do the Potty Training in a Week method, then this would probably get over a lot sooner.  Unfortunately, laziness is still my #1 stumbling block.  Poor Torres #4.  She may wear diapers her entire life by the time I get to training her.  Aye, aye, aye.

And without being too revealing, here's my spirited boy in his cutie patootie undies...
Photo: For all the spirit he exudes daily, he also has such tender, sweet moments. Thanks, Mom, for capturing this one. 

I have to admit, his little biscuits look adorable in his undies.  Like totally pinchable!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Menu Monday

Are you ready for some super exciting news that will make you leap right off the chair in which you are sitting?  Well, you are going to get it!  In fact I have two very earth shattering announcements.

#1: The Torreses have decided on a name for Baby Girl #4!!!

Hello?  Are you there?  I know, you passed out from excitement.  And the name is....

Ha!  Not telling.  We're going to attempt to keep this a secret.  Even though we've already forgotten it's a secret, like multiple times, and told at least 10 people the name. 

#2:  I felt Baby Girl #4 move from the inside and outside this weekend. 

Hello?  Are you there?  I know, you passed out from excitement...again.

Exactly what this means for you is I will ask you to awkwardly put you hand on my belly and wait and wait and wait until she moves again so you can feel it too.  It's just the way I was made.  I like sharing.

Moving on.  I have a menu, and let's be honest.  You are more excited about this than my unsuccessful secret keeping and moving baby.

Monday-Dinner Meeting
Tuesday-Burrito Bowl (Chipotle style)
Wednesday-Coconut Chicken*, Roasted Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes
Thursday-Homemade Pizza and Salad
Friday-Baked Seasoned Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Berries
Saturday-Taco Lettuce Wraps, Seasoned Brown Rice, Salad
Sunday-Dinner with our Chicago Family :)

*We sub out a few things in this recipe to keep it clean.  We use coconut oil to 'fry', unsweetened almond milk to beat with the eggs for dipping, unsweetened coconut flakes, and almond flour or coconut flour for coating.  No dipping sauce required.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

You Mess With One, You Get All FIVE!

There are some days these little minions eat my lunch.  They are a ferocious bunch.  Not really.  They are funny and compassionate and caring and fun loving and playful.  Until, you mess with one of them.  Then they are ferocious!

Steven and I have always told the kids to stick up for their siblings.  They are to be kind, but firm with anyone who picks on or bullies someone in our family.  This includes cousins, friends, anyone for that matter.  They are to stand up for what is right.  So when we were at the park the other day and a little thang started showing a not so nice side, all five Torreses were on it.  I was one proud aunt and mama.

At first this little girl was so sweet just chatting with us while we were eating lunch.  When it was time to get up and play she started getting possessive with Little Miss.  Little Man went to sit by her, and she pinched him.  When he told her he wanted to sit by his sister, she told him to shut up. 

He came to me for some advice.  This little girl was younger than him and he was looking for a solution on how to deal with her.  I told him to firmly tell her, our family doesn't play or talk like that and we don't allow people to play or talk like that to us.  Meanwhile, I call Little Miss over to guide her to separate from this little girl. 

Well, Little Miss was already on it.

Mom!  She pinched Mason and told him to shut up.  I told her I can't play with her since she's being mean to my brother.

Score one for Little Miss.  She doesn't get many opportunities to play with girls so for her to stand up for what was right and her older brother made me celebrate her boldness.

All the while, Little Man headed over to deliver his message he sought advice for.  As he's delivering his speech, Chunky Monkey has his best tough guy face on, arms crossed, nodding his head in agreement.  And the babies?  They were standing back up too.

Moral of the Story...

If you mess with one, you get all FIVE. 

We Torreses run in packs.  In our family, there is no such thing as one person's problem.  The truth is, I am proud of them.  They stood for what is right and stood for each other.  They kept their cool, but were firm.

On the way home, the kids began talking about what happened.  They aren't used to people treating them ugly.  As they were getting wrapped up in all the drama, I found it to be the perfect teaching moment.  And they got this speech...

You will have multiple times in your life where people are ugly, unfair, or just plain mean.  You have a choice.  You do not have to stand for it.  You are a Torres.  We stand for what's right.  We stick together.  We support those who need supporting.  More importantly, you are a child of the Most High God.  You are powerful.  God says you are special.  You must know who you are, then decided if what the person is speaking is the truth or a lie.  If it is the truth, you may need to make changes for the better.  If it is a lie, you may need to separate yourself from the person or situation.  

I really think it was hitting home, until someone passed gas and they were dying laughing...then gasping for air.  We'll just say Little Miss can clear a room ;)  Hopefully, they got the lesson.  If not, until next time, because there will always be a next time.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Last Friday Steven and I spent some time hearing about the vision for our church.  The vision was first casted during our previous weekend's sermon and we were excited.  After meeting for lunch and listening to the deeper vision and passion behind the change, we are elated.  Making better connections to serve people in an intimate and engaging relationships, while maintaining the crucial teachings that Pastor George is so gifted at delivering.

Steven and I have been apart of our church for over a decade and the relationships we have with our church family is cherished.  To help offer that connection to others who walk through our doors is really moving.  I wish I had more words to express the true emotion behind being apart of this vision, but every word I come up with fails to reflect how we feel.  It lacks the luster.

Then I was reading Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick and I came to this passage.  It sums up every ounce of where our family stands in the world of Christianity.  It sums up what our church has a vision for, so I will let the passage speak for me...

"No matter who pays your salary, you're a full-time employee of the kingdom of God.  And wherever you work, that's your ministry.  Whatever you're good at, that's your calling.  The components of your assignment are the sources of your significance.  And there are burning bushes all around you.  Every business negotiation is an opportunity for Christ to shine through you.  Every teachable moment with your children is a bright spot in the making.  Everywhere you set your foot is potential holy ground.  And this concept is the key to effectiveness in the local church."

The End.

I have no more. 

Nah, I do.  I love that our church is grouping those together to inspire meaningful connections to others so we can, together, get out of the church and BE the church to our communities.  To serve others. Love others.  See others. Connect with others outside of our church to make a lasting difference in the world we live in.

Who doesn't want to be apart of that????

I'm sure you'll hear more of this from me as Steven and I step into this journey of building sections in our church, but more importantly, I can't wait to share the stories that come from new connections made.  It's. All. So. Exciting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Complex Thoughts

Earlier today, when my brain was still working, I had a really great blog post floating around in my head.  I was reading Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick and thoughts were just pouring through me and things were getting underlined and MAN!  I had some good stuff.

Then a kid woke up...and another...and another...then a toddler, and well, you get the point.  Thoughts pushed back, notes taken, and book and notebook shut.

Now that's it's late at night and I am cuddled in bed, I'm not evoking so much thought.  So instead you can have random thoughts I remember from my day.  You have to make one promise though.  You cannot judge me.  M-kay?

  • What in the world am I doing up here?  It's hot.  I'm knocked up and climbing through a tunnel chasing two year olds.  Have I lost my mind?
  • Don't eat the cake in the fridge!!!
  • If I locked myself in the closet, how long would it take before someone found me?
  • Do I go for the protein shake or eat the leftover french toast from Father's Day?  
  • Does my butt need it's own zip code yet?
  • How much longer can I squeeze into this shirt before my belly starts hanging out the bottom?
  • Don't eat the cake!!!
  • I wish I were Mr. Miagi so I could catch these dang flies with chopsticks.
  • Do these kids think we live in a barn?  Close the door!!!
  • Oh my gosh!  I've turned into that mom.  Go ahead, leave the door open.
  • Wait!  Don't leave the door open.  It's hot.  And those DANG flies!
As you can tell I have some very complex thoughts throughout the day. I do promise to give you something to think about tomorrow.  Although, I'm sure you're thinking why you stopped by today.  So I guess I did give you something to think about!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Menu Monday & A Wedding

Do you ever have those moments where you feel young and vibrant and knocked up and totally cool, only to realized, "DANG!  I'm getting old."

Saturday night Steven and I went to a wedding to celebrate the marriage of a precious young woman I coached while she was in high school.  It was a beautiful wedding, but it sure reminded us we are in an older stage of life.

First off, getting out the door was not young and vibrant.  It was more like chickens running around with their head's cut off. Trying to get three kids out the door for a Grandparent Date all the while making ourselves somewhat presentable for an evening wedding...MADHOUSE!

Double add in a woman trying to figure out what to wear, or at the very least, something that fit and resembled a dress... 

Ohhhhh!  This dress will work. 


What about this one?  It fit last month in Vegas.


Almost resorting to my nicest of yoga pants (and you think I'm kidding), I remembered the bag of maternity clothes passed to me (I gave all my maternity clothes away to a teenager at the Tulsa Homeless Shelter 2 days before I found out I was pregnant).  JACKPOT!!!  I found a dress that fit the bulging midsection. So make-up bag in hand we hopped in Steven's truck and headed to the wedding.

Seeing all the girls I coached in cheerleading, all grown up, starting their careers and families was awesome.  Their stories, their dreams, their passions...so amazing to listen to them all.  But, one thing remained.  Steven and I are so far removed from starting our lives together.

 Photo: Enjoyed a BA cheer reunion at #thewestonwedding  Congratulations @maxdw21 & @futuremrsweston!!
{A few of the girls from the 2004-2005 years & the coaches}

At one point we were dancing with all the other married couples.  When 10 years was called out, there we were...still dancing.  I glanced around and we were surrounded by all these mid-life peeps.  What the heck??? How did we get here?  We're with the oldies!  WAIT!  We are the OLDIES!

So with the wrinkles and aches and oldness, Steven and I celebrated where we are in life now.  And let me tell you!  It's not something we would change one bit.  Three kids and one more (the LAST one) on the way, we have been blessed with a life we could have never earned on our own.  We've been allowed experiences to grow us where we are today.  We have a community of people who support and love us in ways I would have never imagined in our 20's.  We totally look forward to our 40's and beyond.

Photo: #thewestonwedding with my love!!

Old or not I love this man far more than I did the day I married him.  I can only hope he ages along with me. Good thing I have an amazing eye cream!

Now, you see how old I am?  I forgot it was Menu Monday.  Here ya' go...

Monday-BBQ Quesadillas, Pineapple Salsa and Brown Rice Chips
Tuesday-Turkey Chili, Cornbread, Salad
Wednesday-Grilled Chicken Salad, Honey Butter Croissants
Thursday-Baseball Party
Friday-Grilled Chicken, Asparagus, Berries
Saturday-Club Sandwiches, Fresh Veggies
Sunday-Dinner @ Mom's

I hope you have an amazing week!